March 20th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton surrogate says issues over Wright remain

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Davis is a prominent Clinton supporter."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the uproar has unfolded over Barack Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Clinton campaign has remained tight-lipped on the issue.

Top advisors to the campaign and Clinton herself have repeatedly refused to comment on the controversy, even as polls indicate the issue may be hurting the Illinois senator politically.

But Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Clinton and prominent surrogate of the New York senator, tackles the issue head on in a posting published Wednesday afternoon on the liberal Web site Huffington Post.

In the brief posting, Davis calls Obama's speech on the issue Tuesday "brilliant," but he says the Illinois senator has yet to answer two questions on the controversy that presumptive Republican nominee John McCain "will insist be answered in the fall."

Davis writes:

1. If a white minister preached sermons to his congregation and had used the "N" word and used rhetoric and words similar to members of the KKK, would you support a Democratic presidential candidate who decided to continue to be a member of that congregation?

2. Would you support that candidate if, after knowing of or hearing those sermons, he or she still appointed that minister to serve on his or her "Religious Advisory Committee" of his or her presidential campaign?

Davis, who often appears on CNN to promote Clinton's candidacy, also says he hopes his message "gets to someone in the Obama campaign - or to a reporter traveling with the Senator - who can persuade Senator Obama to answer them directly."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. jenny

    give it up already !move on to something more important like ending the war,getting healthcare for all and not some and to those of you whob tthink that HILLARY IS ALL THAT then you should read the Glen Beck news on her and see for your selves how she feels about racism and blacks in America ,after that if you dont change your minds
    then may God Bless America when she is in the white house b/cause we will really need it.

    March 20, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Alex Hawke

    Will all Catholics leave the catholic church, because of all the child sexual abuses by its priests?

    The only politics that the republicans and Clintonites know: “Divide and Conquer”

    March 20, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Whaa?

    Davis "says he hopes his message "gets to someone in the Obama campaign — or to a reporter traveling with the Senator — who can persuade Senator Obama to answer them directly.""

    Ever here of a phone? I'm sure Obama or his campaign would take a call from someone as prominent as "Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Clinton and prominent surrogate of the New York senator". Did he really think that it was necessary to post an article on Huffington Post? Was that really the most efficient way for him to get his concerns to Obama? Write an article on a website and hope that the right people read it? Really?

    March 20, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Debby

    Good questions from Davis in my opinion. I was wondering myself if a white man in Obama's position would even have an opportunity to make a speech defending why he stayed in a church for 20 years that is so racially biased. Why are people calling this the Clinton news network since all we have been seeing is Obama and his wife being interviewed on CNN over over a month now.

    March 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Melissa

    I guess since MI and FL are a no-go, we start again with the war of the surrogates. Aren't the econony and Iraq just a little more important?

    March 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Wake Up People

    You know whats funny. this guy was responsible for the whole creation of the superdelagate system under Bill Clinton. He is the brightest one on the short yellow bus.

    March 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Peter

    Wow, this has gone on far too long. We still as a country hold so much hatred towards one another. I am sadden to see this man get brought down because of his loyalty to someone outside their own opinions or experiences. That is what makes people family, how many people do you walk away from because they have a different opinion from you especially if they are considered your family. For a man that did not have a father figure that he could relate to and now found one through his Pastor, it is not easy to walk away from someone you love. America can we take that in consideration. I can only see that OBAMA has the qualities that WE should want in a leader.

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Charles

    I am a catholic and God knows that many times I do not agree with my parish priest on issues of abortion, contraceptives, and ordination of women. Do I screen and walk out of my church? No. I realize that the church is greater than many of its imperfect parts. The same goes for Obama. To equate Pastor Wright with the KKK is ludicrous.

    Obama keep pressing on! Victory is on the horizon! Thanks for exposing the issue of race and solutions for race reconciliation. $250 is on its way.

    Obama 08

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Rich

    Obama supporters:

    You keep talking about "cheap shots" and "dirty campaigns," but why exactly are those questions unfair? Is it because you don't think Wright's comments can be fairly compared to comments by a racist white preacher? If they can't be, why not?

    I ask because you don't seem to have a defense for Wright, or Obama re: his non-repudiation of Wright. It seems more just that you're bashing Clinton for these attacks, but it seems to me that you have to explain why the attacks are unfair before you can bash her for making them.

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Dept. of Irony

    Hillary really wants the Republicans to win so she can run in 2012!

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |

    White people and white Christians cannot have it both ways. God is not mocked so a man sows, so shall he reap. For years White Christians, the White political establishment, the Law, and numerous others supported the Klan, Jim Crow and various means for keeping Black Americans from obtaining the highest levels of society. Obama who you call Black even when he has a white mother and a non American Black father tries to put your system to the test you dig up as much mud as you can. I truly believe that this world cannot continue as it is currently going. As a person who is free, I would be very careful about what you say, what you wish for, and whom we get to lead us. I would first pray to the Christian God and ask him to show "you," me, and anyone else reading this how to make a wise decision. Tha=nks

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. RICK

    I actually agree with Davis comments. Reding the comments of some Obama supporters here, is like reading non-democratic comments. Seems to me that Obama supporters want either Barack in the White house or nobody else. Well, these aren't true democrats. Davis point is absolutely genuine and right on. He will have to answer these questions sooner rather then later. Whats the point of covering this up now only to be reopened again from the Republicans come General Electoin time. I am an undecided democrat btw.

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. andy

    Once again the Clinton campaign is making waves. Is this to deflect that the First Lady's schedule showed that she was present in the White House when Bill was engaged in a sexual relationship with a young woman who was actually young enough to be his daughter. Nice try at deflection. I think I would prefer someone who at least addresses the issue head on, that someone who buries her head in the sand and enables her husband's infidelities. Has everyone forgotten the impeachment process?

    March 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Jones in Sacramento

    What do you expect from a Clinton lackey?

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Greg

    Obama is UNELECTABLE now, get over it and move on.

    Hillary '08

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Vincent


    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Nick F.

    I will never agree with a racist's hate, regardless of his color. However, I'm much more apt to tolerate a man who for understandable reasons is angry and frustrated enough to say inflammatory things I disagree with, than I am someone who says hateful things just to win political points or feel a moment of false superiority. The black racist is easier to forgive than the white, given the history and experience. The unspoken subtext of Obama's speech is, "A big man is one who can let a little man be small." And that sort of tolerance and forgiveness all around is precisely what this country needs. This "us and them" way of thinking has got to stop.

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Bobbi

    Obama needs to answer the questions. Hate and prejudice spewed from the pulpit doesn't make it any less wrong and offensive.

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. NOT FIT

    Why Did HIllary stay with Bill Clinton, Will she rent the Lincoln bed room again if elected? There are still questions to be answered.

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Sheldon

    I agree man!

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Jack MPLS MN

    These are valid questions because for one if Obama gets the nomination he will be torn apart on this topic during the general election and the points are valid... can we let Obama be the nominee if he doesn't have the balls to step up? To be honest he doesn't have what it takes in the end.

    March 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Starxzilla

    Hillary Clinton is a carpet bagger... bottem line. As soon as the revotes became a dead issue and failed in their own state legislature, she blames Obama.

    As Soon as the Wright videos go off air and we start having a real conversation, she sends her henchman to squeeze the last bit of fear-mongering out of the story she can.

    I'm convinced that she just generally sucks as a human being.

    and.. about those years in the White House, she tried to push one piece of legislation... it flopped... then she retreaed to reading books to children and throwing tea parties while her hubby was next-door getting his freak on with the help.

    How's that for executive experience?

    March 20, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Rene

    I don't like your selective policy CNN.

    March 20, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Jay

    Davis has a remarkably shallow view of American history.

    March 20, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. K

    White people used the N word first. If this is all you losers have you have'nt got a snowballs chance in hell of winning this election.

    March 20, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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